According to the US Census Bureau’s biweekly Household Pulse Survey, the percentage of homeschoolers – children whose parents withdrew them from public or private schools and assumed full control of their education – grew significantly during the pandemic. The percentage of households that homeschooled at least one child increased from 5.4% at the start of the pandemic in the spring of 2020 to 19.5% in May of 2021. While homeschooling has long been associated with conservative, religious White families, the most significant increases during the pandemic have been among families of color and, in particular, Black households. Around 3% of Black students were homeschooled before the pandemic; by October 2020, the number had increased by more than five times – to 16%. What is driving the migration from mainstream education is difficult to parse, due in part to the dearth of research and reporting on homeschooling among families of color – both before the pandemic and as it continues to unfold. Although COVID-19 and concern for children’s health and safety acted as the impetus for many, if not most, families’ decisions, the shift from traditional schooling has also been driven by parents’ concerns about the disparities, inadequacies, and racism that run deep in public education. The nation’s ongoing reckoning with race alongside COVID-19 has acted as a catalyst for some parents of color to remove their children from mainstream education settings entirely. While do not yet know if new adopters of homeschooling will continue the practice post-pandemic or if they may delay their decision to re-enroll their children in brick-and-mortar schools, there are clear implications for students and the school districts they leave behind. This chapter explores the growth of homeschooling among Black families specifically, providing an overview and typologies, pre-pandemic trends and changes during COVID-19, a review of the literature on Black homeschooling, and concluding with implications.
Anderson, C. (2022), "Homeschooling Black Students During the Pandemic", Ceglie, R.J., Abernathy, D.F. and Thornburg, A.W. (Ed.) Schoolchildren of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Impact and Opportunities, Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 83-97. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-80262-741-120221005
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